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Court overturns Canada's approval of Northern Gateway pipeline

"First Nations and Canada have a lot of work to do regarding measures needed to finally put us all on the path of reconciliation and partnership."
The court's ruling offers the Trudeau government with a unique opportunity to re-think both Canada's discredited pipeline approval process and the ongoing efforts to achieve reconciliation with First Nations.
Court overturns Canada's approval of Northern Gateway pipeline
by Obert Madondo, editor of TheCanadian Progressive, June 30, 2016

 link to www.canadianprogressiveworld.com

"In a decision that's already being hailed as a major victory for First Nations and the planet, the Federal Court of Appeal recently overturned the Canadian government's 2014 approval of Enbridge's contested Northern Gateway pipeline project.

The court concluded that Canada failed to respect its constitutional duty to properly consult the various First Nations that would be adversely affected by the $7.9 billion pipeline before approving the project.

According to the court's ruling (pdf), "Canada offered only a brief, hurried and inadequate opportunity" for dialogue. Canada acted in a manner that "was not consistent with the duty to consult and the obligation of fair dealing."


"It would have taken Canada little time and little organizational effort to engage in meaningful dialogue on these and other subjects of prime importance to Aboriginal Peoples. But this did not happen."

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Ruling may not stop other pipelines 04.Sep.2016 17:33

Devon Page

 link to www.ecojustice.ca

Perhaps the most significant result of the Enbridge victory is that it lays bare the desperate need for fundamental reform to Canada's environmental assessment laws to support the long-term interests of all Canadians, rather than the short-term goals of extractive industries. Panels need to conduct meaningful reviews about whether and how projects can make a positive contribution to Canada's long-term social, cultural, and environmental health, and those results need to be reviewed by courts, from the lens of their compliance with Canada's laws.

And while the victory lies with the hard work of the First Nations who took the risk in challenging the Enbridge project, the court's ruling shakes the foundation of Canada's duty to consult.

The prime minister has an important task to restore and rebuild our trust in environmental assessment review processes. This court decision tells us that tinkering with these broken review processes will not be enough — we need fundamental changes that go well beyond repairing the damage inflicted by the Harper omnibus bills. We need a new approach to environmental assessment law that respects First Nations' rights and that will help guarantee a healthy environment for Canadians now and well into the future.
- See more at:  link to www.ecojustice.ca

Canada failed to consult with First Nations on pipeline 06.Sep.2016 04:07

CBC News

 link to www.cbc.ca

Constitutional requirement to consult

The majority ruling was signed by two of the three judges on the Appeal Court panel. Judge Michael Ryer wrote a dissenting opinion.

Pipeline opponents have called the decision "landmark."

"At every turn you're going, you are seeing nails in the coffin of the Enbridge project," said Peter Lantin, president of the council of the Haida Nation, one of the parties that appealed.

"I don't think there's enough room for another nail in the coffin."

"First Nations, local communities, and environmental interests said no to Enbridge 12 years ago when it first proposed the project. And now that "no" has the backing of the courts," said Ecojustice lawyer Barry Robinson.

"Between on-the-ground opposition and the federal government's promises to keep B.C.'s North Coast tanker free and demonstrate climate leadership, this pipeline is never getting built."

Northern Gateway president John Carruthers issued a statement saying Enbridge will consult with Aboriginal groups, but is still committed to the project and "protecting the environment and the traditional way of life of First Nations and Métis peoples and communities along the project route."

The federal government gave the go-ahead to the Northern Gateway project after a National Energy Board joint review panel gave its approval subject to 209 conditions.

But the government was also supposed to meet a constitutional requirement to consult with Aboriginal Peoples following the release of that report.